Mercedes boss Toto Wolff predicts his team will be on par with pace-setting Red Bull by midway through the forthcoming 2023 Formula 1 season after the German automaker had a rough 2022 due to excessive porpoising on the W13.
Nonetheless, the team accomplished a 1-2 finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix thanks mainly to an extensive in-season effort to get to the bottom of the problems.
Mercedes has used the winter to reevaluate critical aspects of its vehicle, and there have been rumors of a redesign. Wolff, though, has hinted that the team will continue with a similar design in 2023, presumably because it believes there is still considerable untapped potential in it.
Despite this, Wolff is keen to downplay expectations that Mercedes will begin the season significantly stronger than it did at the end of last year. In his opinion, Mercedes should be realistic about the difficulty of catching up to Red Bull, which dominated for most of last season.
When asked about the team’s shortcomings, Wolff replied, “I think we have acknowledged how we fell back, where the gaps are, and where we have holes in our understanding.
“We’ve been working hard to get a vehicle out there that takes those concerns into account. If we believe the car has untapped potential, we won’t know for sure until we begin testing.
“We know that it’s going to be tough to come up to such big organizations as Red Bull or Ferrari when you’re already behind by half a second at the start. Having stated that we are dead set on accomplishing our goal. However, we should aim for a moderate level of achievement,” added Wolff.
If we perform the way we hope, then we’d like to be a part of the race in the front
Mercedes’ prospects of being a F1 title contender in 2022 were harmed because the team spent several months fixing issues rather than seeking performance improvements.
It spent most of the season playing catch-up until a promising improvement package showed up for the United States Grand Prix.
Wolff believes that if Mercedes can compete with the best teams from the beginning of 2023, it will have the foundation it needs to progress.
He continued, “If we perform the way we hope, then we’d like to be a part of the race in the front. As I see it, that’s an excellent place to begin. However, we don’t consider that a given. There’s a chance the voids are the same size as they were at the end of the previous season.
Since “our car, within the concept, the way we drive the car, etc.” still has considerable untapped potential, I believe that “our development slope” can be steeper in the next months.
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